Leaving the Leaves Can Be a Good Thing – Here is Why..

Imagine; the last City of College Park curbside leaf pick-up of the year is about to occur and your trees still have left on them. Don’t fret! Did you know that leaving the leaves in your yard is actually beneficial to the environment?

Wait, but how is leaving leaves scattered about my yard beneficial? Many insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals overwinter and thrive in the leaf litter. The decomposing leaves also return much-needed nutrients to the soil and are a natural mulch for your garden and small trees. Managing fallen leaves in your yard also helps maintain water quality in local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, and helps conserve landfill space (which reduces methane gas emissions). We’ll explain how in the next few paragraphs.

Overwintering is the process by which many animals and insects pass through or wait out the frigid or icy conditions of winter. Take for instance, the Luna moth. During the winter, the Luna moth caterpillar spins a cocoon, nests, and overwinters in leaf litter to then emerge in the spring (much like other native Maryland butterflies and moths). Fireflies are another excellent example, as they spend two years in the leaf litter before pupating into adults! Once they reach adulthood, the female firefly then lays her eggs in the leaf litter to start the process all over again. Leaving leaves in your yard will help increase firefly populations, whose bioluminescence in the summer is a wonder for all. Bumblebees and other bee species can overwinter in your home leaf compost pile, and when they emerge in the spring, pollinate all the wonderful flowers, vegetables, and fruit you may grow!

Insects are not alone in overwintering leaf litter. Salamanders thrive in the moisture of the leaf litter, and larger animals like Box turtles and birds search in the leaf litter to eat nutritious insects. Five-line skinks and other lizards make College Park home, hunt for insects in the leaf litter, which in turn help control pest populations that may consider your spring/summer garden a delicious treat!

Not sure what to do with those leaf piles? Use leaves as mulch around your trees, under your shrubs, added to your compost pile, or as a cover for your winter garden. By doing so, leaves will return important nutrients to your garden and act as a cover for soils, greatly reducing runoff into stormwater systems. This is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to return nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium needed for your lawn, trees, and garden to grow. An easy way to return these nutrients to your yard is to leave the last light layer of leaves on your lawn before the final mow of the season. Then, as you mow, the broken down leaves create mulch that will further break down during the winter, returning nutrients to the soil. Then in the spring, you’ll need less fertilizer, which will help reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay.

If you decide to rake, please place leaf piles off the street and away from stormwater inlets as leaves can clog the drains, which contributes to flooding. Leaves that flow into storm drains make their way into rivers and ultimately the Anacostia Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay, which contribute to eutrophication in the bay. Not to mention, but leaves that end up in the storm drains may also end up in local landfills. The National Wildlife Federation has analyzed EPA reports on landfilled material and found that leaves can account for about 13% of waste found in local landfills. Those leaves then break down anaerobically and produce methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

Help our native and local wildlife and plants thrive each and every year, and help reduce contaminants entering our local water systems by leaving your leaves in the garden!

From the City’s Tree and Landscape Board


Curbside Leaf Collection for December 26 – 30

Curbside leaf collection is scheduled for the following areas next week, December 26-30, 2021:
  • Monday, SA6-Rhode Island Ave, East (final collection for this area)
  • Tuesday, finish SA6-Rhode Island Ave, East (final collection for this area)
  • Wednesday, SA3-Estates & Yarrow
  • Thursday, finish SA3-Estates & Yarrow
Click here for the most recent leaf calendar.
Curbside Leaf Collection Tips
  • Bagging is not necessary during leaf collection with vacuums. Grass can be included in your leaf piles, but no sticks, branches, vines, or woody materials (these items require a special collection, call to schedule).
  • Rake leaves to the curb but do not put them in the street. Pile leaves away from cars and storm drains as the leaf vacuum cannot reach around cars.
  • Remove tree limbs, rocks, trash, and other debris from leaves to be collected. These items damage the equipment and cause delays.
  • Noise and dust may be noticeable as dry conditions generate more dust. We apologize for any inconvenience.
  • Weekly yard waste collections on regular trash collection days are ongoing, if yours is inadvertently missed, please call for a special collection 240-487-3590.

[City of College Park]


City Offices Closed for the Christmas & New Year’s Holiday

All City offices are closed on Friday, December 24 for the Christmas Holiday, and Friday, December 31, for the New Year’s Holiday. Special collections will only occur on Thursday of those weeks.

Residents are Asked to Take Caution During Holidays amid Rising COVID-19 CASES across teh Region

Prince George’s County is encouraging residents to get vaccinated who have not yet done so already, and encouraging parents to get their children five and older vaccinated as soon as possible. In addition, the County is encouraging residents who are already vaccinated to get a booster shot for added protection against COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant.

Studies cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that protection against the Omicron variant is up to 38 times higher when people get a booster shot. In addition, a booster shot can increase protection against feeling symptoms from Omicron by 75%.

All residents 16 and older are now eligible for a booster shot. Residents who received Pfizer or Moderna can get a booster shot six months after the second dose, and residents who received Johnson & Johnson can get a booster shot two months after the single-dose shot. Residents can find the nearest vaccine site at mypgc.us/COVIDVaccine.

The County is also encouraging residents to get tested if they are traveling for the holidays, if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

The County is operating a free COVID-19 testing site at Bunker Hill Fire Station that is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. The County also has a COVID-19 testing site locator, which can be accessed at health.mypgc.us/COVIDTesting.

The County is urging residents to exercise caution with family gatherings this holiday season. Residents should use their best judgment and make the best decisions to protect their families, including considering a more intimate setting with vaccinated family and close friends.

Finally, residents are reminded to continue following the indoor mask mandate, wearing a mask when indoors at any public venue.


More Holiday Tips To Keep Your Pets Safe

  • In addition to the food hazards mentioned last month, holiday decorations can be hazardous to your pets. If you own a cat, tinsel should be avoided. Cats think tinsel is a shiny toy and can be deadly if ingested since it can damage the intestinal tract.
  • Keep your pet away from tree water, which may contain fertilizers or other additives that can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria. If ingested your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea.
  • Keep wires, snow globes, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock . A punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus. Shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.
  • Poinsettia plants are mildly toxic. Holiday arrangements containing lilies, holly or mistletoe are the most dangerous for cats. Ingestions of one to two leaves or flower petals can cause sudden kidney failure in cats. Holly Berries and mistletoe can also be toxic and can cause gastrointestinal upset and heart arrhythmias if ingested.
  • Salt in ice melt, homemade play dough and salt dough ornaments can cause life-threatening imbalances in their electrolytes.
  • If you think your pet has eaten any of these items and is showing sudden changes in behavior, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) or ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (1-888-426-4435) may be helpful.

From the City’s Animal Welfare Committee


Holiday Recycling Tips


PG County School Moves to Virtual Again until January 14

Hollywood Elementary School

Yesterday, the PG County school system announced to take all classes to virtual until January 14.

The statement reads “In light of the stark rise in COVID-19 cases throughout our school system, all students will transition to virtual learning, effective Monday, December 20 through Thursday, December 23. Winter Break will proceed as scheduled, Friday, December 24 through Friday, December 31, and virtual learning will continue Monday, January 3 through Friday, January 14. In-person learning will resume Tuesday, January 18, following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; students in the K-6 Virtual Learning Program will return Monday, January 31.

Over the past few days, I have remained in daily contact with the Prince George’s County Health Department regarding appropriate steps for maintaining safe environments across more than 200 school communities. Educators, administrators and support staff must be able to deliver in-person instruction and other activities in conditions that prioritize their own health, as well as the wellbeing of the school community. The increased positivity rates have significantly challenged the ability to do so, causing anxiety among many school communities and disruption to the school day.”

Earlier, the PGCPS closed 3 schools, until January due to COVID infections



Tomorrow at 10 am: Free Family Vaccination Clinic

Al Huda School at 5301 Edgewood Road is collaborating with Resolve Main street Pharmacy to host this vaccine clinic tomorrow, Saturday. You can register for a first, second or booster shot here: https://bit.ly/FNVDUS.  All residents are welcome. Covid vaccine card for second doses and boosters. No one will be turned away for the Covid vaccine unless deemed ineligible due to not meeting health criteria and/or recommended guidelines, while supplies last.


UMD Cancels All Winter Commencement Activities

University of Maryland

Last evening, the University of Maryland announced to cancel all winter commencement activities, including the main ceremony scheduled for Dec. 20 and all college, school and department ceremonies scheduled for Dec. 21 and 22.

The announcement reads: “This decision was not made lightly. We know how important this time is for our winter graduates and their families, but our first responsibility must continue to be the health and well-being of our community.”

All winter graduates will be invited to the spring ceremony in May.

Additionally, the announcement also includes:

  • All indoor social gatherings where mask-wearing cannot be strictly enforced should be canceled through Dec. 22.
  • All dining halls and the Stamp Student Union food court will transition to grab-and-go options only. This went into effect earlier yesterday.
  • RecWell facilities will maintain their finals hours of operation schedule through Dec. 21; however, basketball, volleyball and racquetball activities will be suspended immediately. All RecWell facilities will be closed Dec. 22-Jan. 2, with a limited reopening tentatively scheduled for Jan. 3.
  • Students who live in residence halls will be required to depart campus 24 hours after their final on-campus exam.

PGPD is Looking for School Crossing Guards

The Police Department is seeking qualified applicants to fill multiple permanent part-time School Crossing Guard positions, grade X-13, within the Community Services Division.

You can apply for this position here.

About the Position:
This is specialized work in the control of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, in conjunction with the movement of students to and from school. These positions require employees to be available to report to various school crossing areas in the County on short notice.

Applicants MUST be able to work between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The complexity of the work revolves around observing traffic and conditions, grouping pedestrians, stopping traffic, and restarting traffic. Employees must wear a uniform while in assignment and work requires employees to stand, walk and use arm/hand signals, whistles, and voice.

Work is performed independently in accordance with departmental standards, rules, and regulations under the general supervision of a higher-level supervisor

Examples of Work
What you’ll do:

  • Control vehicular and school bus traffic;
  • Direct students to assure conformance to traffic regulations;
  • Report traffic hazards and flagrant traffic violations to the police;
  • Obey traffic flow and conditions;
  • Wait for natural breaks, or create effective breaks, in traffic to move pedestrians safely across the street;
  • Instruct students in the safe and correct way(s) to cross the street and in ways to identify hazards; and,
  • Perform other tasks and duties assigned, which may not be specifically listed in the position description; however, are within the general occupational category and responsibility level associated with the employee’s class of work.

Minimum Qualifications
What You’ll Need:
High School diploma or equivalent G.E.D.
An equivalent combination of education or experience will also be considered.
Additional Information
Please note – using a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, to complete this application is NOT recommended. You are highly encouraged to use a desktop or laptop computer so that you can carefully and thoroughly read and understand all aspects of applying for this position.
ELIGIBILITY TO WORK: Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, an employer is required to hire only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized alien workers. Applicants who are selected for employment will be required to show and verify authorization to work in the United States.

This employer participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S., only after an offer has been accepted and the Form I-9 is completed. For information on E-Verify, or if you believe the County has violated its E-Verify responsibilities, please contact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at 888-897-7781 or visit their website at dhs.gov/e-verify.

THE SELECTION PROCESS: Applicants must successfully complete a background investigation to be considered for the position:

The background process consists of successfully completing the following:

Submit an online application
Preliminary Application and Applicant History Review
Attend Preliminary Screening
Preliminary Documents and Records Check

If sufficient vacancies exist, applicants at this stage may be contacted to continue into the Background Investigation Process, which includes:

Complete and submit the Personal History Statement (PHS)
Initial Interview
Background Investigation
Drug Screen
Medical Exam
Final Offer of Employment

Reasons for disqualification may include (but are not limited to) the following: poor work history; poor driving record; felony conviction; illegal drug usage, possession, distribution, sale or purchase; falsification of application or other documents; failure to meet physical standards; and/or any other disqualifying factor as determined by the Public Safety Investigations Division.


  • Must be at least 21 years old at the time of appointment.
  • Must pass vision and hearing test based on Police Department’s standards.
  • Must be willing to work in various locations within the County.
  • The School Crossing Guard is a position within Public Safety, therefore attendance is critical. You must report to your assignments on time and stay for the full duration.
  • Must be willing to work in inclement weather and/or other adverse conditions.
  • Must be willing and able to wear issued uniform.
  • Must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license and own reliable transportation.

This position will remain open until all vacancies are filled.


Reflections on Starting my Sixth Term

Last night, I took the oath of office to serve the residents of College Park for my 6th council term.

As the oath reads – “I will, to the best of my skills and judgment, diligently and faithfully without partiality or prejudice, execute the office”. These are heavy words and put a lot of weight on my shoulders.

I am not the best in the community, so I need your help in getting things done right, with your ideas, advice and even criticism, in private and in public. Thank you!


The New City Council to be Sworn In Today

At tonight’s Council meeting, the 2021-2023 Mayor and Council will be inaugurated at the new City Hall.
The meeting will begin with an invocation by Rev. Dr. Carrington Carter, Embry A.M.E. Church. There is a brief meeting with the current Council and comments by outgoing Council members before the 2019-2021 Council meets for the last time.
The Mayor and the 2021-2023 Council will be sworn in, and the Mayor will appoint the Mayor Pro Tem. There will be remarks from the incoming Council members and an address from the Mayor.
PRESENTATION from Mayor Wojahn to Outgoing Councilmembers Robert Day and Monroe Dennis
REMARKS from Councilmembers Robert Day and Monroe Dennis
ADJOURN the 2019 – 2021 Mayor and Council
SWEARING-IN OF MAYOR-ELECT PATRICK L. WOJAHN: The Honorable Chief Deputy Gerry Mobley of the Circuit Court, Prince George’s County, Maryland, will swear in Mayor-Elect, Mr. Wojahn.
SWEARING-IN OF THE 2021 – 2023 CITY COUNCIL: Mayor Patrick L. Wojahn will swear in members of the new City Council.

County Starts Resurfacing Rhode Island Ave. City to Build Buffered Bike Lanes Next

In case you haven’t noticed, the County has started preliminary work before resurfacing Rhode Island Avenue between MD 193 and Paducah Road. The work includes the installation of new curbs and putting on stormwater sewers. The County is also building concrete ramps from the service roads at the existing bus stops.

The primary construction along Rhode Island Avenue is the work being performed by Olney Masonry, Prince George’s County DPW&T road construction contractor. Interestingly, Olney is also working as the primary contractor for the City to build the Hollywood Streetscape project.

The resurfacing work should be completed in a few months, weather permitting.

Once the County completes the resurfacing project, they will hand the ownership of the road over to the City. The City will then start working on the construction of the protected buffered bike lanes on Rhode Island ave in north College Park. The construction of the protected bike lanes will extend the Trolley Trail to the northern end of the City.

The county is installing curbs like this one along Rhode Island Ave in preparation for resurfacing the entire stretch of Rhode Island ave. This segment of the road will be then transferred to the City.

The County is building ramps to the existing bus stops along Route 1 from the service roads. (photo courtesy: Patti Coil)


December 2021 Leaf Collection Calendar


College Park Holiday Event – Winter Wonderland

Saturday, December 18, 2021 | 5:00 p.m. | Duvall Field (9100 Rhode Island Avenue)
Earn your antlers through a series of fun reindeer games, activities, and arts & crafts! Bring your cameras for pictures with Santa! We’ll also have a petting zoo, carolers, and hot cocoa.
Registration is required. You must show your printed registration (or registration on your phone) to gain entry to the event. No walk-ups.
Hurry, spots are limited! To register, go to: cpwinterwonderland.eventbrite.com.
For more information about the event, visit: cpwinterwonderland.eventbrite.com.